I must be a masochist I guess, bec I keep trying this stuff. Every few years I give Linux a go, each time I end up walking away shaking my head in disbelief.
This time I tried the new Live beta disc on my 4 year old Dell laptop. To my amazement it loaded perfectly, so I installed it, using the whole disk.
I was soon listening to mp3s and watching videos, although I noticed that it kept wanting to load huge updates from the Internet (very slowly btw, 28kbps max) and transfers from my other laptop running Vista were awful (10 mins to transfer a 10MB mp3 file!)
Another problem I noticed was that the default wireless settings were not saved (set it to WPA2 personal, and every time I come back to it it's reverted to WPA personal).
Anyhoo, messing about with the desktop settings, I saw that I was offered several setting for the video card, from basic effects to advanced settings.
Now this laptop has a Nvidia FX Geforce 5200 card, but I was not able to select anything but the most basic screen effects (ie no effects at all). I then saw that the drivers installed were for the "new" NVidia cards, which mine is not. So I foolishly but innocently went to the add/change update manager and deselected the "new" driver and selected the ordinary nvidia drivers, hoping this would allow me to use the card a bit better. I did not select the legacy driver.
It complained a bit about "first uninstall/delete that before you download this", so I followed that, then before downloading the new drivers I put the lappy into Hibernate.
Coming back the next morning, I tried to wake it up and ended up with a screen that was just lines and weird slowly changing colors, like the screen was burning!
From that point on it kept rebooting itself, unable to get into X, spent 2 hours trying all the advice on this forum, running commands from the CLI to reconfigure, still no startx, and when I eventually tried to re-install the whole shebang from the Live CD, it also now just gives me diagonal lines across the screen after the first few screens, which means it's probably damaged the card, because it never did that the first time.
So it's still amateur hour with Linux, but I do detect some improvements.